Sunday, 28 December 2014


On my birthday, 26th December, we headed to Rottenest Island for the day

We had an early start, arriving at Fremantle at 8am to catch the ferry.  

The girls waiting for the ferry to arrive

The water was fairly smooth on the way over but I still felt sea sick. Yuck. Its that awful morning sickness/hangover feeling all rolled into one. Charlotte also felt a little unwell, but everyone else seemed ok. It took 45 minutes before we docked at Rottnest. We got off the boat and headed straight to the playground for morning tea. Then we went for a walk to the most beautiful swimming beach, the Basin. No sharks here as it is a basin shaped swimming area protected by reef.

The Basin

One of the friendly little Quokkas we saw.  The quokka was one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting "a wild cat" on Rottnest Island in 1658. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh mistook them for giant rats and named the island "Rotte nest", which comes from the Dutch words rattennest meaning "rat nest". The word quokka is derived from a Nyungar word, which was probably gwaga.

After our long morning swim we headed to the restaurant for some lunch. Fish and chips and a glass of moscato. Well it was my birthday!

Family pic, at Arristos restaurant for fish and chip lunch

 After our lunch we boarded the bus and headed over to the other side of the island to have a look at Geordie Bay. Being boxing day it was packed with boats. Craig spent some time dreaming about which boat he would like.
Geordie Bay 

We then headed back to the main area of the island to board the 4.15pm boat back to Fremantle. Three tired little people did such a good job on the boat on the way back. Charlotte fell asleep on my arm and Abigail barely said a word. 

On the way back to Freo, one kid asleep and another on my knee singing twinkle twinkle. A lovely ending to a lovely day.

Rottnest Island broke away from mainland Australia over 7,000 years ago. It has a rich Indigenous history and several parts of the island are now protected as Aboriginal sites. The first European settlers arrived at Rottnest around 1830 and built colonies. The land was farmed for cereal crops and was quite successful. Then in 1839 it was decided that the island would become an Aboriginal prison, and indigenous people were sent to the island. Access to the island was prohibited and farmers were compensated for their land then sent back to the mainland. For the next century the island remained a prison for Aboriginals, during this time the Aboriginals were used for slave labour to build lighthouses, roads and the buildings. The island was also used for prisoners of war in WW1 and as a holding station for ammunition in WW2. It was then reopened to the public in the 1960's as a recreational area and is still enjoyed by all of us today.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Two and a half months

Its now been two and a half months since my last post. I think about writing often, think about what I could put on here. And I am disappointed in myself that I haven't been able to put in words exactly what I wanted to write. But Im here now. So here goes. 

Reflecting on the year that has been.

1. We were very very close to the bush fires in January, but the direction of the wind that day saved us. So many 'what ifs' in January.  But it didn't burn. For that I am grateful.

2. In March we decided to go to Kalgoorlie. I am not saying this was the best decision. Sometimes stepping out of ones comfort zone is scary and can therefore feel like a 'bad' decision. But at the end of the day we learned a lot about ourselves. I know a lot of people who are 'gunnas'.  They are gunna do this and gunna do that. Gunna go on holidays gunna change jobs. Craig and I are certainly not 'gunnas'. We make things happen. And even if it doesn't work, I am grateful we take risks.

3. Having someone close to me have a health scare. Was the hugest thing in my life. On the 244th day of 2014 I wrote in my diary one word. 'Shattered'. Cause that is exactly how I felt.

4. The sale of our house in September. A huge thing. A decision we didn't think through in its entirety. A decision that I trusted others and probably should have used my own brain to make. But I didn't. A decision that we made to take a huge risk in life and one that we haven't worked out if it was a good idea or a dumb shit idea yet. But we did what we thought was best at the time.  We both have good careers and can easily make an income to get another house/ a bigger house/ more... Its something I have put a lot of time and energy into worrying about this year. But at the end of the day its gone. And right now the absence of that mortgage allows us to decide to do other things. Whatever that may be.

5. Moving back to Perth. Fuck me. Moving house is time consuming, draining, financially stressful not to mention a headache. But we did it. again. To be closer to family. To be back to what we know for a little while till we can make our next move. Thankfully we still had somewhere to live, our unit in Midland. Its not much, but its ours and its been our safety net. And for that I'm grateful.

6. November 2014.  My little niece is born. Another person to love. She is so beautiful.

So from here we are up down up down with the decision making. Craig now has a good job that is holding us back from heading off. And my sister can no longer have the dogs as she has a baby and dogs of her own and its too much of me to ask. So my main concern would be finding someone else I trust to have my dogs while we go. This part has me crying in the night about it. 

Although we are back to our 'normal', I don't fit in here in Perth any more. I don't fit in at the school playground or with friends, or even with my family. Craig and I are on edge. With every decision, with each other.  It feels like a storm is brewing. there will be a change, a huge one. But what that change will be is yet to be decided. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Today is my second last day living in Kalgoorlie before we return to Perth. So I thought I would put up some photos Ive taken around town.

Main street of kalgoorlie, this is the town clock

The statue of St barbara, in St Barbaras square. A local hang out for indigenous people who ask for money

The exchange hotel

The museum

Boulder Playground, we have spend many an afternoon here

One of the many old pubs in Boulder

Main Street of Boulder

The palace, this is where we went roller skating. Felt a bit haunted to me!

Driving home

Our house 

The beautiful skies we have become used to.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Kalgoorlie to Perth

The road between Southern Cross and Kalgoorlie

1200 Kilometres in two days

We have a trailer and a camper, which we can obviously only tow one at a time. We had to make a quick overnight trip to perth on the weekend to drop the camper so when we move we only have the trailer to take down.

The distance between Kalgoorlie and Perth is 595km, which takes us six hours of non stop driving. There isn't a great deal between the two destinations, but there are a few little towns to note.

Coolgardie: A population of 800. What was once a thriving gold town is now no more than a couple of pubs and a servo.

Southern Cross: This is our first stop, we stop in at the servo for everyone to use the toilet. We grab a drink and head off. This town has a population of 700 and was named after the star constellation. All of the streets in this town are named after constellations and stars, I would like to walk the streets and take photos but we are always in a rush on our trips to and from perth.

Merredin: This is the start of farming country and you can see on the side of the road that the dirt turns from the red outback dust to brown soil. It is the halfway point between Perth and Kalgoorlie.

Northam: This town is bypassed now. I know once we are in Northam that we don't have far to go. I almost view Northam as being the change over point between the farming land and the suburbs which follow down the hill to the city.

All of this driving is done on one road, Great Eastern Hwy, which is the only road that connects Perth to the eastern States. The road runs parallel with the Pipe Line. The pipe line was completed in the early 1900's by CY O'Connor to deliver water from Mundaring weir to Kalgoorlie. It is still used today.

The pipeline 

A controlled burn off that was happening as we came through Mundaring

The girls in the back watching DVDs and eating their sandwiches

This will be our last quick dash. Next time we do the drive will be for our final move back to Perth. While I don't mind driving, I certainly won't miss the rushed nature of our trips down. Im looking forward to getting on the road next year and being able to take our time to see the sights and do a few hundred kilometres a day instead of the six hour stints we have become accustom to. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Day trip to Leonora

On Sunday we decided to do a day trip to Leonora, which is 234km North of Kalgoorlie on the Goldfields Highway.

Craig worked in Leonora for a couple of years when he was doing FIFO and had 'fond' memories of the place. He wanted to show the kids the mine where he worked and the town which was his home for eight days out of every fortnight.

The road to Leonora


A half way point between kalgoorlie and Leonora, and good stop for toilet and playground is the small town of Menzies. Small is a good word to describe it, with a population of 56! The town was founded in 1894 and named after a Canadian prospector 'Leslie Menzies' who resided there. Today there is a nurses post, a hotel and a shire office. A police station was running up until 2007 but was closed due to lack of funding. 

Main street of Menzies

Menzies Town Hall. Did you know: This was built in 1898, however, remained 'clock less' for over a hundred years as the original clock ordered was lost in a ship wreck and the town declined shortly afterwards. A clock was finally put up in 2000 to celebrate the new millennium!

The playground stop at Menzies


From Menzies we drove through to Leonora, into the townsite to have our lunch. We had packed some rolls and juice boxes from home into the engel fridge. A necessity when travelling as lunches would have cost us $50 plus.

Another town another playground. This one is in the main street of leonora. Kids are eating their rolls on top of the slide!


After our quick bite to eat and a quick walk of the town (so quick I took no pics!) we got back in the car and headed the few kilometres out of town to the 'ghost town' of Gwalia. This town was built around the Gwalia mine site in the 1800's and was a thriving site until the final whistle blew on 28 December 1963 and the mine closed down. All the workers were forced to abandon site and find work elsewhere. The little tin shacks and artefacts are all that is left of that time. Some of the shacks have been restored and it is now a popular tourist attraction. 

Craig and the girls exploring the townsite

Two beds (minus the mattresses) in one of the shacks. Love the original pressed tin walls. 

An old car parked outside a shed that has been covered in number plates and signs

Funny to think this was someones home all those years ago. Amazing how a human being can live with so little possessions and comfort but still manage to survive. Makes me thankful for my toilet, shower and kitchen!

The Gwalia mine was reopened again in the 1980s.  The decline is now over 2,000 metres below the surface and lots of the new mine works pass through old works from the first gold rush days. Craig used to be underground here and there have been many ghost stories from this underground site.  Craig said he has felt like someone has been behind him when working only to turn around and nobody there. On saying that he isn't an overly spiritual person and I would like to go under there one day myself or at least research more about the ghost stories. Im sure there would be hundreds of stories!

In 2000 a plane full of workers was flying from Perth to Gwalia when the plane failed to land. It continued on and eventually ran out of fuel and crash landed in outback Queensland killing all on board. It was named the 'ghost flight' by media as it is believed all on board suffered from Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen as the plane went above its designated altitude.  Quite an apt name for a plane that was due to land at this site. 

All in all Gwalia is a townsite full of history. Although it wasn't riveting for the kids it was interesting for us adults to visit.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Can't wait to get on the road.....

I have been reading some of my favourite traveller blogs. It makes me get very itchy feet and I can't wait to get on the road and experience Australia with my family.  My top 5 blogs I follow are:

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Where to from here?

So we have found ourselves assessing what we are going to do in the coming months.

In my previous post I listed three options that we may put into place. At this stage it looks like we will run with the option of moving back to Perth for the next six months to work out the next step for us as a family.

Our unit is coming up for rent so rather than race in and buy a property or rent someone else's house we will move from Kalgoorlie and live in our unit in Perth for a few months. Craig will get a job and we will play it by ear in terms of our travel. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

hard words

Someone I know is not well. 

I cannot go into detail on here but its made travelling plans seem trivial and got me questioning if I really want to leave my extended family for a length of six months.  Our house settles next week in Perth and we even questioned if we could pull out of the sale and move back to Perth. But legally its all binding and Ive no choice but to sell.

So we are in a situation at the moment where we will end up:

a) sticking with our original plan of leaving Kalgoorlie next March and doing our six month trip

b) Move back to Perth from now till March and rent a house

c) move back to Perth and buy another house and put the travel plans on the wayside

At this stage its a bit hard to 'make plans'. Sometimes in life we just have to roll with it and see the outcome.

I just feel sick about the whole thing. So sick.

For now all I can do is.....

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The camper

We are at the stage of planning what we are taking on our trip and where we are going to put it. With two adults and three kids the space is minimal and we are condensing our list as we go.

Underneath the camper trailer we have five plastic tubs. they contain:
BOX 1: Towels and tea towels.
BOX2: Toaster, kettle, tupperware, BBQ tools
BOX3: for school work, texts, pencils and kids toys
BOX4: Spare blankets and sheets.
BOX 5: Empty (but it won't be for long! leaving this for any last minute bits)

We have a long draw that runs the width of the camper. This one is for food storage. We are calling it the pantry draw. We can fit the basic cooking stuff in my tupperware and a plastic tub for biscuits, bread and dry foods. Theres a spot for tins and condiments. This means we should be able to store enough food to last us a week without having to go to the shops. This will be handy when we are remote and in between supermarkets. Hopefully keeping the costs down. 
our pantry draw

There are two side compartments that Craig has used for battery and wires and chargers, I don't plan on opening these draws!

Another side compartment that will be used for fold down laundry basket, pegs and toiletry bags. 

Under the fold out kitchen sink we have stored plates, cups, bowls and cutlery, and things like glad wrap and bin bags. 

There is a long tool box on the front of the camper that will store shoes (all 15 pairs of them!) swimming gear like kick boards and floaties, kids outdoor toys like frisbies and skipping ropes. 

Another draw for the BBQ and bike helmets.

Craig has removed the gerry can holders from the very front of the camper and plans on putting a long tool box in their place. This will contain his tools of the trade so he can a) fix the camper if it breaks and b) do a few jobs along the way if we run low on $$. Who am I kidding, I mean WHEN we run low on $$!!

This leaves us with the back of the car which will hold our clothes (two large suitcases and three little ones). A fridge box that Craig has custom built for the engel. And a space bag with rain coats etc that I will vacuum down flat. Oh and my thermo will take pride of place next to the fridge! We are having a cargo barrier fitted so we can stack things higher than the back seat. Also adds a safety feature in case of an accident we really don't want suitcases etc flying through the car. 

The Pathfinder will also have a roof rack fitted next month. This will hold our camping chairs, table and our oz trail sunshade tent. 

The top of the camper is where we sleep. We will leave our bedding on the bed and lay the kids sleeping mats and sleeping bags flat on top. This will then be covered by a tarp and the camper folded down. On top of the camper we will stack the broom, the kids beds (folded down) and the ladder for the bed.A big PVC cover then goes over the top of this and zips around and ties down so everything stays snug.

Some of the things Im in two minds about are:

TV: do we really need to take one. Or if we want to watch something should we just watch on the laptop or one of the iPads or the DVD players in the back of the car! When we go camping previously we have taken a TV as the kids need some down time and them laying on the bed watching an episode of Dora can sometimes be the difference between me staying calm or me ripping my hair out.  But they are getting older now and Im wondering if iPads will suffice.

A toilet: Craig thinks we should have one for our bush camps. I am thinking that for the amount of bush camping we are doing a toilet is not necessary. Most rest areas are well set up these days with toilet facilities. But then if they are feral maybe a chemical loo would be a good idea. I just don't like the idea of strapping a toilet to the camper. It kind of seems gross. But anyways we will work that out. 

Our bikes: We always take them on our two week holidays, and we never use them. Miss 3 is too young and I can't get on my bike and ride off, I am more needing to walk along side her to straighten her handle bars and stop her riding into old people. Miss 4 too needs some assistance and I think it would be too stressful with my bike. And the bikes are big and need to go on the bike rack at the rear of the camper which just adds length and weight which I don't think is necessary. We are however certainly taking the kids bikes. 

Anyway things are slowly coming together, our house settles in two weeks and we will be completely debt free and able to save some more coin till we depart Kalgoorlie in March 2015. The car/camper is almost set up which will mean a car service before we leave and thats it! 

Trying not to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having no house. I know things are going to work out fine but the worry wart in me can't help but analyse things. Usually at an inconvenient hour of 3am.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

FIVE places on our must do list!

 There are lots of places we would like to see on our road trip but here are a list of our top five.

1. GIBB RIVER ROAD, Western Australia

Now, when I say 'we' sometimes I mean 'Craig'. This is one of those.. this is his hot spot. Im happy to tag along though. 

A former Cattle track, this dirt road goes 660 kilometres from Derby across to Kununurra taking you through some amazing outback territory. We plan 6 or so days to cross and will be stopping to see a few water falls and walking tracks along the way. 

2. MATARANKA HOT SPRINGS, Northern Territory

This is one on my list. I've read about this place for years. It was a spot my parents took me when I was five and I look forward to visiting again, this time hopefully I remember it!
The springs are located about 400 kilometres south of Darwin. The water is a consistent 34 degrees and is known for its healing and calming properties. There are a few different springs to visit in this area so I will need to research more on which ones are most kid friendly etc.

3. KURANDA, Far North Queensland

A  town I visited with my family when I was 12. A day trip from Cairns, Kuranda is surrounded by beautiful world heritage rain forrest. From memory, it was a little, laid back village tucked away at the top of a rain forrest mountain. We plan to take the kids on the train and the sky rail and look through the markets. I reckon I will buy my mum a tea towel from here! 

4 JERVIS BAY, New South Wales

I recall a man once telling me that Jervis Bay has the whitest sand in the southern hemisphere. Not sure if its true or not but it is pretty white! But I don't want to go to this spot for the sand. I want to take the kids to see the whales migrating. We will probably see the wales heading south, during August to October. There is something very special about whales. They are not scary like sharks, not boring like fish, not cheeky like dolphins. They are just, majestic. I want the girls to see them in their natural habitat, I fear that in my kids lifetime these beautiful creatures may become extinct.

5. ULURU, Northern Territory

Ok this is an obvious one. I have actually already been here twice. Once when I was 5, and once when I was 12. I don't believe in climbing the rock. Nor do I believe in going there just to grab a few sunset shots (although I most likely will!) I want to go there to learn more about Indigenous culture. I want to show the kids, and let them see and hear some of the dream time stories and paintings and history this rock holds. I want them to see the pure form of indigenous culture. Not the jaded one they are exposed to where we live now, where Aboriginal people walk the streets with a brown paper bag and ask for a dollar. 

So there we have 5 of about 1,000 places we want to go. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Blog post number 1

Well here I am! all set up with a blog (feeling fancy) and ready to start sharing our very exciting adventure that is coming up soon!

In March this year we moved to Kalgoorlie from our home town of Parkerville, in Perth Hills. We were looking for something a bit different. We had originally talked about me and the kids moving to Leonora as Craig had a good job there. But he wasn't settled and wanted to apply for a few jobs elsewhere and see what happened. Well as it turned out he got a position in Kalgoorlie. So here we are.

Moving out of our comfort zone was actually a blessing, because it made us both realise that it wasn't so much a change of town that we wanted, but a change of life style.

The last seven years have been HUGE for us. We got married, had three babies, I finished my degree, and my Post Grad, Craig closed his business and went working FIFO. We have bought and sold cars and had ups and downs. But pretty much it has just been full on.

So we get to Kalgoorlie and a month or so into it Craig and I are having a conversation and as per usual my over active mind starts with hypotheticals that poor Craig really does his best to answer! Sitting at our kitchen table after breakfast one Sunday I said  'what would you really like to do, if you could do anything you wanted?'. He answered without much hesitation 'travel Australia'. And we both processed the idea like it was a distant dream, bit like winning lotto or something.  Anyway the conversation was shortly ended (due to a kid wanting something of course) and we didn't discuss any further.

A couple of nights later, just as Craig was turning off the light (I was in bed nearly asleep) Craig says 'you know if we sold the house we could do it'. I answer 'do what?' and he replies 'travel Australia, do you want to?' Me being half asleep said 'ok'.

So the few days after that were full of crunching numbers, working out what we would do with the dogs, the kids schooling, our house, our furniture, how long we could go for, and what set up we would need to drive and live on the road.

Craig and I are never ones to procrastinate, usually if we have an idea we do it. So I knew as soon as we got this ball rolling that it was going to happen.  Each road block was discussed and we came up with a plan.

The dogs were my number one main concern and I would not travel anywhere if they weren't with someone who would look after them for me. Giving them away is not an option. I wouldn't go if it was. Anyways, I have an AMAZING (times 100) little sister who loves animals. She was the first person who knew about our plan because without her having our pups there would be no plan. In a simple text message of me saying 'oh we want to go on a road trip around Australia will you have my two dogs' I get back a response 'of course I will'. Which is very generous but she is the perfect person to have them.

Working out how long we wanted to travel for was another topic. We both agreed that six months was a good amount of time. I needed a time line as I am not the sort of personality who can handle a fly by your pants travel schedule. Some people can do it indefinitely and hats off to you, but I stressed to Craig that this was a holiday and not a long term gypsy nomad existence! So six months it is. Good time frame for our finances, the kids and our careers.

Next discussion point was financial. To fund a trip we would need money of course. Craig worked out figures (he is the numbers man) and we found if we sold our house we would have enough money to pay out our car, travel for six months (on a budget) and put aside a large chunk for a deposit on another house when we returned. We have a rental unit we purchased last year that we can use as a plan B when we get home. To either sell it to help fund a new house or to live in till we save some coin to buy. I am attached to my home and found the concept of selling it was a hard one. But really, at the end of the day, it was our stepping stone. Never a forever house, and we could easily replace it when we finished our travels.

Kids schooling wasn't a hard one for me. I know that the girls will learn far more on the road than they would in a classroom. I am lucky enough that Miss 6 is well ahead and could easily miss six months of school and still be ahead. the other two kids are small enough to not have a concern about missing a formal education. Plus, as a teacher I think I am perfectly qualified to teach the three kids as we go! I may look into School of Distance Education or I may turn home school mum.

As for the furniture, well it cost that bloody much to get it to Kalgoorlie I really couldn't justify moving it back to Perth. most of our items were purchased well before kids, so it was time for an update on most of our stuff. I made a list (cause Im good at that) of what I wanted to keep. And got it down to my tupperware, our bed and our outdoor table! A small truck can move that and our few boxes at a fraction of the price. And we can store it at my Mum and Dads house for free (I haven't asked them yet but I reckon its ok!)

Our Nissan Pathfinder is a 2012 model and is reliable and modern enough to take. Our near new PMX camper, although cheaper than some of the flash ones on the market, would be more than capable of housing us for six months. We may have to tow it to the tip by the time we get home though!

As for times, well at this point, we have set a leaving date for March 2015. This date is when our lease is up on this house in kalgoorlie. Craig will have a year experience as a workshop foreman, kids will be ready for a new school year, my sister will have had her baby girl (I'm NOT leaving perth till she is born!) the weather will be good, and we will have enough time between now and then to put some money aside.

Phew! lots to write in my first blog!

Will write soon about what we plan on taking with us and where we plan to go. Thanks for reading everyone :)